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Mei Fun vs Lo Mein – What’s The Difference?

Norah Clark
Vegetable Mei Fun. Credit: Spruce Eats

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

As a chef who has had the pleasure of preparing both Mei Fun and Lo Mein, I can attest to the unique qualities each dish possesses. Mei Fun, with its delicate rice noodles and fresh ingredients creates flavors that blend seamlessly, offering a delicious and satisfying dish.

Lo Mein’s heartier wheat noodles and bold flavors make it a comforting and indulgent choice. The chewy texture of the noodles paired with the savory sauce and diverse ingredients is sure to please the pickiest diner.

Both Mei Fun and Lo Mein have their place in Chinese cuisine. Whether you prefer the lightness of Mei Fun or the heartiness of Lo Mein, both offer a  culinary adventure that is sure to satisfy your chinese food craving.

Mei Fun: A Delicate Rice Noodle Dish

Mei Fun is a type of noodle commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly in Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. It is a thin, translucent rice noodle that is often served in soups, stir-fries, and noodle salads.

Mei Fun noodles have a delicate texture and absorb flavors well, making them versatile and ideal to soak up various sauces and seasonings. They are a popular choice for those seeking gluten-free or lighter alternatives to wheat-based noodles.

Mein Fun adds a satisfying and distinct element to Asian dishes, contributing to their overall taste and texture.

Ingredients for Mei Fun

Mei Fun is primarily made using thin rice noodles. These delicate noodles are typically made from rice flour and hot water, giving them a soft and silky texture.

Unlike other Chinese noodles that contain wheat or eggs, Mei Fun is gluten-free, making it a great option for those with gluten intolerance.

Cooking Mei Fun

To prepare Mei Fun, the rice noodles are soaked in hot water until softened.

Once they reach the desired consistency, they are quickly stir-fried with a medley of ingredients, such as crunchy vegetables, mushrooms, and sometimes meat or seafood.

Mei Fun is often seasoned with soy sauce or other savory sauces to enhance its flavors.

Mei Fun: Light and Fresh

Mei Fun is known for its light and fresh taste. The rice noodles absorb flavors from the sauce and other ingredients, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors.

Vibrant vegetables and aromatic herbs further enhance the dish, providing a pleasing contrast of textures and colors.

Mei Fun is best served immediately after cooking to preserve freshness.

Lo Mein: A Heartier Wheat Noodle Dish

Lo Mein is a popular Chinese staple consisting of stir-fried noodles. It is versatile and customizable and typically includes a combination of noodles, vegetables, and red meat, poultry, or seafood.

Lo Mein noodles are soft and wheat-based that absorb flavors from the stir-fry sauces and dry ingredients.

The dish is known for its savory and slightly sweet taste, with a texture that combines the softness of the noodles and the crunchiness of the vegetables.

Ingredients for Lo Mein

Unlike Mei Fun, Lo Mein is made with thicker wheat noodles made from wheat flour and eggs, giving them a chewier and denser texture.

The addition of eggs provides a rich flavor and a yellow hue to the noodles.

Cooking Lo Mein

To cook Lo Mein, the wheat noodles are boiled until they become tender. Once cooked, they are stir-fried with a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, meat, and seafood.

A sauce, made with soy sauce, adds a savory element to the dish. For me, it is a very hearty and satisfying noodle dish.

Lo Mein: A Hearty Comfort Food

Lo Mein offers a heartier and more substantial dining experience compared to Mei Fun. The chewy wheat noodles and the combination of ingredients create a bolder flavor makes it a satisfying and comforting dish.

 

Main Differences Between Mei Fun and Lo Mein

Despite their similarities as Chinese noodle dishes, Mei Fun and Lo Mein have distinct differences:

  1. Noodles: Mei Fun uses thin rice noodles, while Lo Mein features thicker wheat noodles.
  2. Texture: Mei Fun has a soft and silky texture, whereas Lo Mein offers a denser and chewier experience.
  3. Ingredients: Mei Fun often incorporates a wide range of vegetables only, while Lo Mein includes a variety of meats, seafood, and vegetables.
  4. Flavors: Mei Fun focuses on light, fresh, and delicate flavors, while Lo Mein boasts bold and savory tastes.

The choice between Mei Fun and Lo Mein ultimately depends on your preferences. If you are craving a lighter and gluten-free option, Mei Fun is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you desire a more substantial and comforting meal, Lo Mein will hit the spot.

FAQs

What Are The Main Ingredients Used In Mei Fun and Lo Mein?

The main ingredients used in Mei Fun typically include rice vermicelli noodles, stir-fried vegetables (such as bell peppers, carrots, and bean sprouts), and protein options like shrimp, chicken, or beef. On the other hand, Lo Mein features wheat-based egg noodles along with similar stir-fried vegetables and protein choices.

How Are Mei Fun and Lo Mein Cooked?

Both Mei Fun and Lo Mein are stir-fried in a hot wok or skillet. The process involves pre-cooking the noodles until they are al dente, then stir-frying them together with the vegetables, a protein, and a sauce made from a combination of ingredients like soy sauce, oyster sauce, or other seasonings. The ingredients are cooked quickly over high heat.

Are Mei Fun and Lo Mein Gluten-Free?

Mei Fun is made from rice vermicelli noodles, which are gluten-free, but it’s essential to check if any additional ingredients or sauces used in the dish contain gluten. Lo Mein, on the other hand, is made with wheat-based egg noodles, which contain gluten. If you have dietary restrictions or follow a gluten-free diet, it’s best to inquire about the specific ingredients and preparation methods when ordering these dishes.

Which Dish Is Lighter In Flavor, Mei Fun or Lo Mein?

In terms of flavor, Mei Fun and Lo Mein can vary depending on the specific recipe and seasoning choices. However, Mei Fun is tends to have a more delicate and subtle taste, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through. Lo Mein generally has a richer and bolder flavor profile due to the use of soy sauce and other savory seasonings.

Summary

When I have to choose between either of these dishes, I think about my appetite and whether I want something light or more filling. 

I know that whichever I choose, I can't go wrong with both dishes offering diverse flavors and the ever-popular Chinese noodles.

Bon appétit!

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